Sex and death are inherent in our conceptions of war. Everything about modern warfare is riddled with sexual imagery. We’re constantly shoving, thrusting, or otherwise forcefully inserting dick-shaped objects into places where they’re not wanted, then triggering them to explode. War is such a homoerotic enterprise, so laden with the language and imagery of rape, that Pynchon couldn’t avoid it if he wanted to. And one thing that’s clear to everyone who reads Gravity’s Rainbow: he doesn’t want to avoid this. The novel is many things. Among these things, it’s a 760-page-long dick joke.